Step 2 – Work with suppliers who responsibly manage their manufacturing impacts
The manufacture of items used in professional cleaning processes, whether these are detergent products, cleaning tools or capital equipment, has a range of potential environmental impacts and it is the role of the manufacturer to ensure those are responsibly managed.
Formalized ‘environmental management systems’ can be used to identify the significant potential impacts arising from the production facility, and to put in place measurement and control measures to ensure these are properly managed.
While the intrinsic use of raw materials, energy, water and packaging are to a large extent determined by the product design, it’s a key role of the factory’s environmental management system to minimize waste of each of these resources, including finished product. Any waste packaging should be recycled wherever possible.
Manufacturers must also properly manage emissions from the factory, especially of hazardous substances to sewer and atmosphere, to ensure there are no harmful effects.
The A.I.S.E. Charter for Sustainable Cleaning
The A.I.S.E. Charter relates primarily to the manufacture and supply of detergent cleaning products, for both consumers and professional cleaners, but its provisions would also relate to other materials supplied by signatory companies. It places numerous requirements on companies who commit to it and use its logo. Environmental management systems to take care of all the potential impacts outlined above, and to comply with all relevant legislation, are an essential requirement. Signatory companies also commit to continuous improvement and must have formal procedures, training and targets in place to drive this. There must also be plans and procedures in place to prevent accidental emissions from impacting the environment.
So as well as working well working to eliminate energy waste, Charter companies look to find ways of progressively reducing energy usage and report annually on their performance. They similarly report on total waste and hazardous waste per tonne of production.
In parallel with the environmental management system, Charter signatories must have in place a health and safety management system to protect workers.
Working with suppliers who responsibly manage their operations
When working to improve the sustainability of your cleaning processes across the life cycle, it’s essential to choose manufacturers who not only supply good products but also responsibly manage the environmental and health impacts of their manufacturing and distribution operations.
Companies use a variety of standards and certification systems such as ISO14001 or EMAS to manage their environmental impacts. The A.I.S.E. Charter logo is a visible indication for purchasers and users of cleaning products that suppliers using that logo have in place procedures to manage all the impacts outlined above, and are committed to continuous improvement. You can find out more about the Charter, and check the detail of its requirements here.
You can also see what progress has already been made in improving the sustainability across all sectors of cleaning in Europe, domestic, professional and industrial in the annual A.I.S.E Sustainability Report.
Once a company has been a Charter member for three years, it is required to have arrangements in place to use where possible upstream suppliers who also have their own sustainability policies, environmental and occupational health and safety systems in place. So choosing an A.I.S.E. Charter member as a supplier brings additional assurance about the sustainability of your supply chain further upstream.